This should provide a nice counterpoint to the Patience post, here.
Anticipation can seriously enhance or seriously detract from an experience. Ahead of birthdays (depending on your age, of course), special holidays (Christmas, for me), and vacations/visiting friends, anticipation is a bit thrilling. It hypes the upcoming event like the best PR person in the whole wide world. It makes time slow. It does to time what cornstarch does to water. Anticipation infiltrates time and reaches the perfect suspension (no pun intended…no, ok, I intended), making the more fiercely you want the event to come nearer, the slower time moves for you.
A dreaded event always seems upon you before you can adequately prepare. Two weeks ago I developed an abscess in one of my teeth. If you’ve ever had an abscess, you know what it’s like. It is mouth torture. I characterized it as worse than labor and childbirth (partly predicated by when you’re in labor, you know you’re getting an awesome prize at the end – or two awesome prizes – but with a tooth ache, you’re probably headed for pain and pain followed by a painful dental procedure and then just back to your baseline. Seems pointless.). I’m fine now. After 4 days of pain (and four days of prescribed antibiotics that didn’t seem to help), I had an emergency appointment with the dentist to drain the tooth. I don’t know exactly what he did, but I ended up with a hole in the back of my tooth so it could drain. Side note: most of the pain of an abscess is not caused by pus (oh god, awful to even contemplate pus in your tooth and gums), it’s actually caused by the gas produced by the bacteria in the pus. The four or five hours after that procedure were probably the worst of the pain. The novocain wore off very quickly (apparently, a result of the bacteria again, somehow).
My follow-up was yesterday to scrub the root, fill it, and seal it. I knew that if the tooth had seriously weakened in the week elapse and cracks had formed, it would be an extraction instead. Remembering how the hours following the procedure the week before had felt, and knowing what it felt like to get two shots of novocain in the front of my gum (not for the first time, either, since the tooth in question actually has a crown – an exciting dental story for another time), I was very nervous leading up to the appointment. Conflicting that was the sense of relief that everything would actually be over then, and my eagerness to just be done.
It went fine. I had maybe the biggest shot of novocain (just one!) I have ever had, ever, and that was the most painful part. I was facenumb for the next 8 or so hours. Generally, root canals are considered very scary and painful. I attest that a root canal is nothing to worry about.
Back to anticipation… Also last week was the twinsies’ first birthday and their first birthday party. It, of course, made me nostalgic for their birth, and the days and months leading up to that. The day you find out you’re pregnant, the birth seems a very long time away (well, depending on when you find out – I guess those gals who give birth at the prom and “didn’t know they were pregnant” don’t have as much anticipatory time). At the same time, you realize you have 38-42 weeks to prepare to be a parent. It’s not enough time. No amount is. So panic sets in. And a strange kind of acceptance. And each week rolls by, sometimes sluggishly, sometimes too quick to be a full seven days.
Everyone says, “The days are long, but the years are short.” The days are short, too. The year to their first birthday felt much shorter than the 9 months to their birth.
Anticipation is the master of time.